Blog Post

Aligning Material Development Goals with the 2030 Emission Reduction Target

Manufacturing in the United States is soon to face an adjustment to the greenhouse gas emissions targets as set by the Biden administration. Following the climate summit of 40 of the world’s leaders, Biden has pledged to halve US greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. This decision comes after over 300 businesses, notably Walmart, Google and McDonalds, put pressure on the Biden administration to tighten emission regulations. Not only are the government looking to make a change, but so too is big business.

What impact will regulatory updates have on material development?

For the foam and adhesives & bonding supply chains it is important to plan for the future and remain ahead of the 2030 target to avoid potential fines. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 23% of greenhouse gas emissions produced in the US (2019) were as a result of industrial manufacturing. Consequently, action is required to minimize this contribution.

Foam and adhesives are also major suppliers to the transportation market and as the largest contributor to US greenhouse emissions, transportation companies have pledged to curb their emissions drastically. Companies such as Ford and GM are setting environmentally conscious goals and the material supply chains will need to follow suit.

How can the foam and adhesives supply chain address emission regulation updates?

Strategies for tackling emission reduction include increasing energy efficiency during the manufacturing process and looking to alternate fuel sources to power said process. Another effective method for the foam and adhesives industries is the implementation of a circular economy. The repurposing, reuse and recycling of materials can lead to a reduction is emissions and help to minimize waste.

With a diverse range of materials and applications, knowing how best to approach circular economy implementation in a cost effective way can be challenging. Collaboration is key to making sure all options are explored. Looking at a products transformation from raw material to its end user application can help to ensure maximized production efficiency. It can also help to provide transparency so that the end-of-life cycle can be handled without the mixing of impure materials. Partnerships can provide this clarity and help to enable a more sustainable future.

Bio-content offers an alternate means of reducing petrochemical usage in a product. There are numerous organic materials that can be utilized in this process such as soya, coffee and vegetable oils. The bio-content replaces a percentage of a product’s polymer content. The challenge is to maintain the same mechanical properties of the product as the percentage of bio-content increases. As the percentage of bio-content increases, maintaining a consistent and durable product must be rebalanced.

What does the future hold?

There are a number of fascinating initiatives underway to ensure that the foam and adhesives supply chains are able to meet the upcoming emissions targets. While change can be challenging it can also present a lot of opportunity. Meeting the demand for environmentally conscious material development is a space for innovation and should be seen as a chance for growth.

Join us at Foam Expo North America and Adhesives & Bonding Expo July 13-15, 2021 where we will be discussing the various methods of implementing sustainable material development. July 13th is dedicated to this topic, two sessions to look out for are Fostering Environmentally Conscious Material Development to Meet Consumer Demand and Satisfy Regulatory Requirements and How to Effectively Increase the Share of Bio-Content Mass in your Product Whilst Meeting Application Specifications. Experts from JSP, HB Fuller, Loctite, Cardolite, Algix and Cargill. View the full conference agenda here.

 

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